Random thoughts, rants, raves and photo opportunities

2016 - The City of Three Cultures, Toledo, Spain

On day two of our epic adventure across the Iberian Peninsula, we visited the City of Three Cultures, better known as, Toledo, Spain. Toledo is a gorgeous walled city an hour south of Madrid. Named after the co-existence of the Christian, Jews and Muslims, the old town of Toledo has an amazing 9th century Moorish Gate, the Puerta Vieja de Bisagra. The walled city is surrounded by the Tagus River, and the preservation of of this exquisite city means we got to see it all! We visited a metalwork factory making their famous swords with damascene inlaids (a legacy of the Moors in Spain), checked out the marzipan candy shops and enjoyed the adopted home of El Greco, the famous Greek artist who adorned this city with his beautiful work. The RHS Band and Dance group performed a concert in the Plaza de Zocodover much to the enjoyment of all. 

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2016 - A Walking Tour of Madrid, Spain

My amazing Spanish sister Cristina Cruz and her fiancé Jose and his daughter, Cristina took Bart, Anna and I on a tour of Madrid. First things first: churros and porras at Cris’ favorite shop… followed by an amazing day of MADRID!!!! We walked in Sol, ate tapas at the Mesones and took photos with the Madrid bear. Conclusion: We LOVE our Spanish family, and it was an unforgettable day.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Minnesota's 8th Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event

Minnesota's 8th Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event was held today, Saturday, August 29th, 2015 and like every preceding event, was more successful than the last. For the eighth consecutive year in a row, the weather cooperated and was perfect.

The event is annually held at Dakota County's Miesville Ravine Park Preserve, which is located about four miles south of Miesville, MN and six miles northeast of Cannon Falls, MN. The majority of geocachers paddle the Cannon River from Cannon Falls to the Miesville Ravine landing, which is  a 6.7 mile gorgeous stretch of the river. Some geocachers biked the Cannon Valley Trail and others just stopped in for the picnic.

I would like to thank the following:

  • My daughter Molly and boyfriend for manning the picnic shelter while everyone was on the water.
  • Doublemoose for personally carrying the cold beverages on the water and keeping them nearby.
  • Those that provided door prizes.
  • And especially thank you to all of whom attended this event. Without you all it just wouldn't be as much fun to be on the river.

Final attendance numbers as of September 8th, 2015:

  • There were 45 RSVPs.
  • 51 have logged the event Attended.
  • 68 signatures were listed on the written log.
  • Physical headcount during the picnic was in excess of 65 attendees if you count infants and canines.
  • 5 dozen ears of sweet corn served along with a pound and a half of butter.
  • In years past, we've filled the two trash barrels provided by the park. This year, we hauled out two of our own trash barrels leaving the park with only a minimal amount of cleanup.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Black Bear, Missoula, MT

While on the long drive home from the Pacific Northwest, we stopped for a geocache just a few miles west of Missoula, MT. We were reaching into a culvert to grab a large sized geocache, 10 Years (GC27Z8M), when we were welcomed by an adolescent black bear. The critter didn't seem dangerous but paced back and forth waiting for us to leave.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Exploring Lake Abert, Lake County, OR

On a recent road cruise to Seattle, Laura and I took a detour several hundred miles south to southeastern Oregon. While we were skimming through the desert, we had the opportunity to explore Lake Abert. Nearly 30 miles from the closest city, Lake Abert is Oregon's only salt water lake. The alkaline lake supports no sea life other than brine shrimp. The lake is currently drying up and water levels have not been as low as they are now since the dust bowl of the 1930's.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Hiking the Mountains of Idaho, Pocatello, ID

We stopped for a short but brutally steep hike in the mountains just on the outskirts southwest of Pocatello, ID. Our goal was to find the second oldest geocache in Idaho. We had to crawl to the top of a small sunflower covered mountain top in order to score the find.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - John A. Latsch State Park, Minnesota City, MN

There is no camping or Hiking Club trail at John A. Latsch State Park, so the next best thing to do is to climb the stairs to the top of Mount Charity. The 800 step climb to the top is brutal, especially in the heart of the summer, but the view 500' above the river is breathtaking.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Lake Louise State Park, Leroy, MN

I went on a solo camping outing to Lake Louise State Park this weekend to enjoy some hiking and geocaching. The park is located near Le Roy, MN, just north of the border with Iowa. I was concerned that camping here would be a bad experience as the park is one of the smallest parks in the system and most people I speak with have never even heard of it. But I was pleasantly surprised that with only 20 campsites, the quaint little park it was cute and very well maintained. Along with the Hiking Club trail I completed, I also spent part of my weekend biking on the Shooting Star Bike Trail. I would definitely return to Lake Louise at some point in the future.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Paddling Loon Lake, Waseca, MN

The family was in Waseca, MN for the weekend camping. Molly, Teddy the Schnoodle, and I peeled away from camp with the kayaks to paddle Loon Lake. We navigated the boats around an unnamed island for exploration.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Lac Qui Parle State Park, Montevideo, MN

I went on a solo camping outing to Lac Qui Parle State Park this weekend to enjoy some hiking and geocaching within Minnesota's state park system. Located near Montevideo, MN, the park doesn't have much to offer unless you're into fishing or hunting, but the campground was grassy and well groomed. In all of my state park travels, Lac Qui Parle consistently earns the Most Mosquitoes in a State Park award. If you want to camp here, I strongly suggest you do it early spring or late fall. Any other time of the year will put you in the running for Blood Donor of the Year.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..